After canceling two flights, Tom Hoge finishes T3 at THE PLAYERS
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Sets course record with third-round 62 at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – After opening THE PLAYERS Championship in 6-over 78, Tom Hoge booked a flight for Friday afternoon.
Oh, how the tables turned.
Hoge rallied with a second-round 68 on Friday morning to post 2-over total, then sweated out the cut line overnight – it wasn’t finalized until the second round was completed mid-morning Saturday. Emboldened by a free roll of sorts, the North Dakota native carded a course-record, 10-under 62 on Moving Day at TPC Sawgrass’ THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, then closed in 2-under 70 for a T3 finish, his career-best showing at a major or PLAYERS.
Tom Hoge sets new course record at TPC Sawgrass
Nine players had carded 9-under 63 in competition at the Stadium Course, but never had THE PLAYERS yielded a 62. That changed when Hoge drained a 10-foot birdie at the par-5 ninth to conclude Saturday’s third round. In more demanding final-round conditions, he kept the pedal down with six birdies Sunday, offsetting two bogeys and a double bogey.
Hoge finished seven strokes behind winner Scottie Scheffler, who carded 17 under for a five-stroke win over Tyrrell Hatton, but the 2022 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner further solidified his position on one of game’s highest tiers.
“The (third-round) 62 stands out, but honestly battling today and battling Friday in tougher conditions when the wind was up, and really playing pretty nicely, was right there with it,” Hoge said Sunday. “I booked a flight home Thursday night, so I certainly wasn’t expecting to be here.
“You just try to carry the momentum forward now, and hopefully I can find something in my golf game to keep this going.”
Tom Hoge interview after Round 3 of THE PLAYERS
Hoge’s third-round tee time was not assured until the final threesome completed Round 2 on Saturday morning. Eric Cole reached No. 18 at 2 over; at the time, 64 players stood 1 over or better. Cole faced a 39-foot birdie try that would have moved the cut to 1 over. He two-putted, though, and 75 players advanced to the third round at 2 over or better – including Hoge.
In a way, Hoge was playing with house money. He had scheduled a Jacksonville-to-Dallas flight, after all, for 2:58 p.m. Friday – then the same flight for Saturday. Neither was needed. He was still very much in the Jacksonville area come Sunday afternoon.
“The whole thing, really,” he replied, when asked if any element of the weekend was a bonus. He turned that bonus into a check for $1.475 million, along with 180 FedExCup points, moving to No. 16 on the season-long points race.
Hoge’s 24 birdies were most in the field, and he furthers his candidacy to represent the United States at this fall’s Ryder Cup in Rome.
Of Hoge, Jordan Spieth once told the Associated Press: “When he gets in contention, he won’t back down.”
Hoge proved that at TPC Sawgrass.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.